Independence captures DII Valley title, Nick Trevino earns Fighting Spirit award
Special to the Sun-Gazette:
FRESNO – For the first time since 1992, the Redwood Rangers headed to Selland Arena to compete in the DII Central Section playoffs. Despite an impressive season, the team, #9 seed, ultimately lost 45-60 to #2 seed Independence.
But Redwood had a fruitful season that brought them to Saturday’s big game. After defeating the odds with a 0-3 start in league play, the Rangers pulled off a comeback and won a share of the Western Yosemite League Championship.
On a seven-game winning streak going into playoffs, the team continued to dominate. The Rangers beat Monache, 67-64 in the first round, then won 74-67 against #1 seed Roosevelt, then taking down #4 seed San Luis Obispo, 74-64, to move onto Valley.
“The game just didn’t go our way. We played our style and did okay but the better team won,” said Jason Black, first-year Redwood basketball coach.
Redwood struggled to adjust to the different environment at Selland Arena, Black said. The larger arena, the bigger crowd and the tougher competition was too much for the Rangers.
From the beginning, Independence came out in a tight press, forcing 10 turnovers for Redwood in the first half alone and sealing a 19-8 lead in the first quarter.Redwood rushed the basket with force and showed strength with 37 total rebounds in the game, but weren’t able to finish the possessions with a bucket.
The Falcons held Redwood’s Malachi Aguilar to only 7 points compared to his 26-point average and Connor Gilcrest had 15 points and 9 total rebounds.
Nick Trevino received the Fight Spirit award after making 13 points and six rebounds.
“I was grateful to receive this award and it was a blessing to know that my efforts were acknowledged,” Trevino said.
“Nick and the award is the perfect reflection of the person he is…He has been a great leader and friend. He is a rock and our strength,” Black said.
For Independence, Josh Codamon totaled 12 points and five steals. But Fighting Spirit award winner and sophomore, Cameron Brown, led the way with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 4=four assists and four steals.
As the team’s season comes to an end, the boys have much to be proud of and have a bright future ahead in the program.
“I was most proud that we never gave up this season, we remained hungry throughout the season no matter the circumstances. We worked hard and got the results,” Trevino said.
“I take it one year at a time. Next year we will approach the season the same and look for a high level of success in all three levels of the season. Tradition doesn’t graduate,” Black said.
Redwood, 17-11, moves onto state playoffs as the #16 seed in the Southern Regional Finals and will play at #1 seed Acquinas Tuesday.Independence, 19-7, received a #15 seed in the Southern Regional Finals and will play at #2 Palisades.